The Link Between Masculinity and Health

09 May 2017

It’s a growing issue which often gets swept under the carpet or ignored.

When we talk about health we instantly think about the gym and salad and vegetables and running. When someone is healthy they are physically fit, right? Sure, but that’s only one type of health, what about the other type?

Let’s talk about that fact the 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems every year… People who have been bullied are more likely to go through it. In fact, 44% of people surveyed had felt depressed and 41% felt socially anxious as a result of bullying. These problems then lead to bigger issues: of the people that were surveyed, 40% of guys in the US said that they had considered suicide and 55% of UK males said the same, making suicide the biggest killer of guys under 40.

Why is there such a stigma about mental health?

It’s as simple and as important as our physical health, but no one likes to talk about it! Depression is seen to be a sign of weakness in men and all too often, guys are dealing with undiagnosed mental illnesses for fear of judgement from others.

Masculinity

Mental health problems in guys are linked to ideas about masculinity. Masculinity is a funny thing and manifests itself in many different ways. It sneakily burrows into the psyches of males before they are even able to walk and talk and silently dictates the way we speak, think and behave.

These invisible pressures which are put upon us, force us whether knowingly or not, to behave a certain way – it stops us from being ourselves.

48% of people surveyed, agreed with the statement “guys should act strong, even if they feel scared or nervous.”

Ever been told to ‘Man up’, ‘Grow some balls’ or ‘act like a man’…? Masculinity dictates that guys should suppress their emotions. The only emotions deemed acceptable for us to show are the not-so-great ones, like aggression and anger. We’re being cheated out of expressing all the other emotions out there! This is why loads of guys are more likely to use violence to solve issues.

This is bound to cause problems for us later on… It can even lead to things like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, various eating disorders, and in some cases, suicide. The list goes on and It’s time we talked about it – whoever said ‘boys don’t cry’ is part of the problem!

There are some amazing guys out there who have opened up about depression and help to disprove the negativity about men and mental illness such as Kendrick Lamar, Stormzy, Kid Cudi, Brad Pitt, James Arthur, Zayn Malik…even Justin Beiber has spoken in the past about dealing with these issues – you better belieb it! You are not alone.

Suicide

If you feel suicidal, talk to someone:

In the UK, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
In the USA, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Read more

If you think you’re suffering with an undiagnosed mental illness, click I Need Help or refer to the following articles:

Don’t bottle it up, get help and join our community – Ditch the Label cares about your wellbeing, regardless of your gender.

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